The MLBA Board of Directors is comprised of an all-volunteer Board. Each Board member is elected by the MLBA membership to serve a two-year term. The Board is dedicated to promoting MLBA’s mission and vision to the greater Minnesota legal community. Board Members are responsible for actively participating in committee work, fundraising for the organization, and building collegial and collaborative relationships with LGBT and allied organizations to promote LGBT equality within Minnesota’s legal profession.
The Board is governed by the Executive Committee: two co-chairs who serve as the principal executive officers of the organization, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
- Co-Chairs: Claire Joseph & Alyssa Smith – [email protected]
- Secretary: Colleen McGarry
- Treasurer: Matthew Streff
- Cumah Blake
- Jess Braverman
- Erin Bryan
- Kristien Butler
- Taylor Cunningham
- Darius DeBoer Massoudi
- Thomas Hale-Kupiec
- John Medeiros
- Nic Puechner
- Sarah Riskin
- Jacob Westlund
- Joni Thome
Board Member Bios
Erin serves as Senior Corporate Counsel in the Law Division of U.S. Bank, where she provides legal support to U.S. Bank’s mortgage and consumer lines of business. Prior to joining U.S. Bank in 2014, Erin was an associate in the Finance and Restructuring group at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, where her practice included a wide variety of transactional matters and bankruptcy litigation for clients in the financial services, healthcare, technology, and energy industries. Erin began her legal career as a judicial law clerk for the Hon. Robert J. Kressel, United States Bankruptcy Judge. She regularly provides pro bono services through the Volunteer Lawyers Network’s Housing Court Project and LGBTQ Clinic. Erin lives in the Tangletown neighborhood of Minneapolis with her partner, two kids, and cat.
Kristien R. E. Butler
Kristien is an attorney with the Office of the Hennepin County Public Defender where he represents court-appointed clients at all stages of the criminal justice system from arraignment through trial. Prior to this, Kristien was an attorney with the Office of Equity & Diversity for the Minneapolis Public School District. He is also a member of the Minnesota State and Hennepin County Bar Associations, as well as a member and past board director of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. Kristien has sat on the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s Committee for Equality & Justice since his appointment in 2011. He holds his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University and his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.
Darius DeBoer Massoudi
Darius serves the people of Minnesota at the Department of Revenue where he leads the Aditor/Treasurer Services Unit within the Department’s Property Tax Division. He provides guidance and subject matter expertise to policymakers within state government, and to County Auditors and Treasurers statewide, in order to ensure uniform and equitable application of our state’s property tax laws. He previously worked as an associate attorney in the Regulatory Affairs group at Dorsey & Whitney, a legal clerk for the Federal Trade Commission, and a paralegal for a plaintiffs’ firm specializing in False Claims Act suits. Darius earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall), and his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. In 2016 Darius was elected as a delegate to both the DFL’s statewide and Fourth Congressional District conventions. He also serves on the board of the City of Saint Paul’s District 10 Como Community Council as an elected representative of Sub-District 4
Thomas works over at 3M in their Health Products Business Group, and specifically deals with legal & regulatory affairs in the combination medical device product arena. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, George Washington School of Public Health, and the University of Virginia. He previously clerked for Fortune 500 corporations, legal non-profits, and the federal government. He’s won numerous state & national awards for his scholarship & service, but is more proud of he and his partner’s cat, who plays fetch with them.
Claire V.J. Joseph
Claire is an attorney in Briggs and Morgan’s business litigation and employment departments and is a co-founder of the firm’s LGBT group. Claire is the recipient of Briggs’ 2012 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award and the Ramsey County Bar Association’s 2013 Excellence in Diversity Award. In 2013, Claire was appointed to the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s Committee for Equality and Justice. Claire earned her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and her LL.M. in international and European law from the Université Jean-Moulin 3 in Lyon, France. Claire has been a member of the MLBA since 2011, has served on the Board since 2013, and joined the Executive Committee in 2014. Claire lives in Saint Paul with her wife and their two dogs. Contact Claire at [email protected] or http://www.briggs.com/attorneys-Claire-Joseph.html.
Colleen is an attorney in Fox Rothschild’s litigation department. She represents clients in a wide range of complex business and commercial disputes. Her experience ranges from defending companies in general liability, products liability and mass toxic torts in state and federal courts to counseling individuals in estate planning and personal income tax matters. Prior to working at Meagher & Geer, Colleen clerked at the Minnesota Court of Appeals for the Honorable Edward J. Cleary. Colleen also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, and the Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association Diversity Committee. She has been a board member of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association since 2015 and joined the Executive Committee in 2016. She lives in Minneapolis with her fiance and their dog.
John Medeiros is a partner with the law firm of Myers Thompson, a Minneapolis-based firm that practices in the area of U.S. immigration law. He represents corporate clients before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of Labor, and helps to review and interpret applicable immigration-related laws and regulations. John has particular expertise with J-1 waiver applications for physicians, nonimmigrant visa petitions (H, L, O, TN, E, B-1), Labor Certification applications (including PERM applications), immigrant visa petitions, and adjustment of status applications. He is fluent in Spanish and English, and is the author of Immigration After DOMA: How Equal is Marriage Equality? (Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy, Fall 2013). John serves as the Chair of the LGBT Committee of the Minnesota/Dakotas chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). More information about John can be found at http://www.myersthompson.com/our-staff/john-medeiros/.
Nic is an attorney in Larkin Hoffman’s business litigation and employment law groups. Prior to working at Larkin Hoffman, he served as a judicial clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals for the Honorable Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks. Nic was the recipient of the 2015 MLBA Student Merit Award and joined the board in 2016. He lives in South Minneapolis with his partner and son. Contact Nic at [email protected] or http://www.larkinhoffman.com/our_people/commercial_litigator.
Sarah is an Associate in the Labor and Employment Group at Nilan Johnson Lewis, where she represents employers of all sizes, from small companies to Fortune 500 corporations. Her practice includes all aspects of the employment relationship, including advising employers and representing them in administrative proceedings and litigation. She has specialized knowledge in employment discrimination and LGBT issues in the workplace. Sarah is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota Law School. She joined the MLBA Board in 2011. Sarah lives in South Minneapolis with her wife and three children. Contact Sarah at [email protected] and http://nilanjohnson.com/people/sarah-b-riskin/.
Matthew Streff is the principal of Streff Legal, PLLC, focusing on immigration law and civil rights issues. Streff Legal provides assistance for multinational families, including same sex couples, and provides civil rights representation for trans issues, discrimination claims, and criminal and removal defense. Streff Legal specializes particularly in immigration for foreign professionals, including J-1 physicians, researchers and other foreign nationals of Extraordinary Ability, L-1 and E-2 entrepreneurs, and other individuals seeking temporary visas (H-1B, TN, O-1, J-1, H-2A/H-2B, P, H-3 etc.) or Permanent Residence through PERM Labor Certification. In addition to serving on the Executive Committee for the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, Matt is Lavender Bar’s current representative on the Minnesota State Bar Association Council and previously served on the Executive Committee for the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Find out more at www.strefflegal.com.